VCU student company, which created device to help premature babies, to compete for up to $2M

Joshna Seelam standing in front of a projector screen, presenting on the Brise-solette.
Joshna Seelam presenting on the Brise-solette. (Courtesy photo)

What started as a senior class project has turned into a burgeoning business for three Virginia Commonwealth University students.

Kilo Medical Solutions — a startup founded by VCU da Vinci Center for Innovation students Joshna Seelam, Aniket Kulkarni and Kashyap Venuthurupalli — was chosen as one of 10 finalists for the Luminate accelerator competition in Rochester, New York. Each finalist receives an initial investment of $100,000 in their company and a chance to receive up to $2 million in additional funding. 

Kilo, a medical device startup, emerged from the students’ development of the Brise-Solette, a device that can improve the special incubators that measure and regulate vitals for premature babies in the neonatal intensive care unit by allowing medical providers to better control light and stimulation entering the incubator. The students created the Brise-Solette for their senior capstone project at the VCU College of Engineering and later took it through VCU’s Pre-Accelerator program.

“The Kilo team is a great example of cross-disciplinary collaboration at VCU and the opportunities afforded to students with drive to pursue their dreams,” said Garret Westlake, Ph.D., executive director of the VCU da Vinci Center. 

The six-month Luminate program begins in January. The accelerator helps companies speed up the commercialization of their technologies and provides businesses with the resources, knowledge and connections needed to succeed, as well as opportunities to hone their stories. In June, participants will pitch their companies and compete for a portion of $2 million in additional funding. 

A collaboration of VCU’s Schools of the Arts and Business and the Colleges of Engineering and Humanities and Sciences, the da Vinci Center is a unique collegiate model that advances innovation and entrepreneurship through cross-disciplinary collaboration. 

“The VCU [Master of Product Innovation] program has been instrumental to Kilo’s success thus far,” said Seelam, Kilo’s CEO. “I have applied a variety of entrepreneurship principles ranging from product development and startup operations to leadership management and raising capital.”

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